Vital Points in the 2012 Title Race

People often talk about last game of the season title winning goals (and we do love the drama and memory of those) but often goals in games earlier in the season can be decisive too. On this day (22 January) in 2012 a clumsy challenge in the dying moments from Tottenham’s Ledley King on Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli gave City a penalty and the chance of three points. You can read about the game and see highlights below:

The game was played on Sunday 22 January 2012 with a 13.30 start in Manchester. City’s match stats were:

City: Hart, Richards (c), Savic, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko (Balotelli 67)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Onuoha, de Jong, A Johnson
Goals: Nasri (56), Lescott (59), Balotelli (pen 90+5)
Booked: Clichy, Balotelli

Referee: Howard Webb

A tight and nervous first half ended goalless and it felt as if the game could well end in a 0-0 draw, however the second half brought 5 goals and plenty of drama.

After 56 minutes Silva found Nasri with a brilliant through ball. The Frenchman was through on goal and he fired the ball past Friedel to make it 1-0 to the Blues. Three minutes later from a corner, the ball fell to Lescott at the back post who sent the ball the yard or so needed to increase City’s lead.

2-0 and we thought City were home and dry but then, within a minute, Spurs scored. Defoe pushed forward around the onrushing Hart to score a fairly easy goal.

As was the case at times during 2011-12 the nerves set in and it wasn’t long before the visitors equalised. Bale picked up the ball from 20 yards out after City had struggled to clear their lines. His stunning effort found the top corner.

Both sides looked for the winner and the general mood around the stadium was one of missed opportunity. It felt like this was going to be one of those days, especially as Spurs had a great opportunity around the ninety minute mark. But then with less than a minute of added time to play, a Clichy clearance fell nicely for Balotelli to run on to. As he moved into the box a clumsy challenge from King brought Balotelli’s run to an abrupt end. Inevitably, referee Howard Webb awarded a penalty. Balotelli stepped up and scored to give City the points.

I know we will always talk about the final day of this 2011-12 season (and rightly so) but without Balotelli’s penalty v Spurs and the resultant three points the title would not have made it to City. There are plenty of these moments in title winning seasons.

Subscribers can read what I said about this game in a piece I wrote in 2012 here:

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Highlights here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2012/january/city-v-spurs-22-jan-extended

I was sat in the North Stand that day. Were you also at this match? If you were why not leave your memory as a comment or email it to me for possible future use on this website?

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Wolves Slain

Today (26 October) in 2011 Manchester City won 5-2 at Wolves in the League Cup before 12,436. Edin Dzeko scored twice of course that day. You can see highlights of the game here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2011/october/wolves-v-city-carling-cup-extended-highlights-oct-2011